Spring Avocado Cracker Snacks

spring avocado crackers

Radish and butter make for a classic combination, but radish plus extra-virgin coconut oil and avocado equals total buttery, plant-based, creamy, crunchy bliss.  Feel free to use any cracker you like here, though I prefer something savory and hearty like these seedy gluten-free ones from Mary’s Gone Crackers.  These would also make great party hors d’oeuvres (as long as you use crackers substantial enough to handle sitting around).  After all, spring produce is something to celebrate.

Crackers
Extra-virgin coconut oil (solid)
Ripe avocado
Radishes, sliced into thin rounds
Pea shoots (or microgreens, fresh herbs, etc.), cut to fit
Sea salt

On each cracker, spread a bit of coconut oil and then ripe avocado.  Season with salt, add a radish slice, and top with pea shoot.

 

Pasta with Peas, Arugula, & Sun-dried Tomatoes

pasta, peas, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes

Lightly adapted from Mario Batali’s Farfalle with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Arugula

This is one of those dishes that is so simple and easy to throw together yet somehow feels sophisticated.  Simultaneously fresh and comforting, it’s a bit like a lighter, updated version of that 90’s Italian American restaurant staple, the pasta primavera.  Pasta, peas, and wilted arugula are coated in a silky, garlicky, almost creamy sauce, though there’s no actual cream or cheese here (or cashews or nut milk for that matter; this is a vegan blog after all).  Instead olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, vegetable broth, and nutritional yeast combine to make a sort of a magic– a small glittering sea of umami richness.
*I prefer the more flavorful oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes here, but you can certainly substitute the dry kind.  Just be sure to rehydrate first by covering in hot water and soaking for about ten minutes, then draining.

12 oz pasta
1 cup frozen peas, preferably petite
EV olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, preferably the oil-packed kind, cut into slivers
1 cup vegetable broth, divided
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
4 cups arugula
sea salt and black pepper

  • Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions; set a timer for cooking time.  When there is one minute left on the timer, add the peas.  Cook pasta and peas together for remaining minute and then drain.
  • Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil into a large pan and cook garlic and red pepper flakes over medium low heat for a few minutes, watching closely and agitating frequently, until fragrant.
  • Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, a ¼ cup of the vegetable broth, and nutritional yeast.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring now and then, til thickened.
  • Stir in the arugula and the rest of the broth.  Cook for another couple minutes, letting arugula wilt. Combine with pasta and serve.

Yield: About 4 servings

Soba Noodles with Ginger Tahini Sauce, Black-Eyed Peas, & Sauerkraut

noodles with tahini, sauerkraut, black-eyed peas

When the cat’s away… the mouse will eat weird healthy shit like soba noodles with sauerkraut.  This recipe came about one night recently when Phil was already heading out to practice by the time I was leaving work.  I was hungry and tired and as I rode the train I tried to think of what easy thing I might have for my dinner.  I knew I had soba noodles and pasta at home, so when I got off at my stop I ran into the local, 24 hours produce market in hopes of getting some fresh herbs, too.  But after inspecting the different leaves of varying shades of pale green with brown edges, I decided to save my money.  Home I went, where I threw together this dinner (and the next few days’ lunches) with what I already had in my own kitchen.  Then I painted my nails and watched Girls.  I’m joking.  That was the next day.

1 cup cooked black-eyed peas/1 14oz can, drained and rinsed
1 (8.8. oz) packaged soba noodles (I like this kind)
¼ cup tahini
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, plus a tiny bit more
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp warm water
chunk of ginger, about 1-1½”, peeled and minced
heaped ½ cup sauerkraut, drained
hemp seeds
salt and pepper
sriracha for serving, optional

  • Toss black-eyed peas with a splash of rice wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Cook noodles in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • While noodles are cooking, make the sauce. In a small bowl whisk together the tahini, tamari, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, warm water, and ginger.
  • Toss noodles with tahini sauce, black-eyed peas, and sauerkraut. Taste for seasonings, and serve topped with hemp seeds with sriracha on the side if desired.

Yield: About 4 servings

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Asparagus, & Lemon-Chive Dressing

asparagus quinoa chickpea salad

During my last haircut, I got to talking with my stylist about food and recipes and this blog.  He pitched to me his own idea of featuring sets of recipes which share the same ingredients– a sort of batch cooking format.  His desire to reduce waste and save money is something I think we can all relate to.  I mean, who hasn’t sheepishly watched a bunch of cilantro rot away in the fridge after one night of chana masala?  (Cilantro-haters, don’t answer that.)  So while this post includes just one recipe, in the spirit of economy and forehandedness, I’m including some suggestions for what to do with the asparagus and chives you don’t use.  For the asparagus, try grilling it: heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, when hot spray with a little cooking spray, and cook asparagus, a few minutes per side, until cooked through and slightly charred.  Remove from heat and toss with a little extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  I also love asparagus in pasta dishes.  This recipe looks great, as does this (and it uses sunflower seeds, too!  I also bet you could substitute chives for the green onion).  Or make risotto.  This pesto looks like a delicious (and healthful) way to use up chives.  And this pizza and this potato salad use both asparagus and chives.  Waste not, want not.
*This salad dressing is on the rich side, which complements the grassiness of the asparagus really well.  The lemon and hot sauce further balance out the flavors, but if you prefer something lighter, feel free to reduce the amount of oil, or the total amount of dressing overall.

chives

1 cup quinoa
olive oil
½ cup avocado, grapeseed, or mild olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp finely chopped chives, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top
1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp mustard flour
1½ cups cooked /15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
15-18 thin asparagus spears (~½ bunch), rough ends removed, sliced diagonally into 1” pieces
3-4 tbsp sunflower seeds
couple splashes of your favorite hot sauce, optional
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • In a fine mesh sieve, rinse quinoa until the water runs clear.  Drain.  Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil in a small saucepan and add quinoa.  Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa smells toasty and water has evaporated.  Add 1½ cups water and a little salt, turn up heat to high.  Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat but keep lid on for another 15 minutes, then remove lid, fluff with a fork, and let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile make the dressing: in a tightly closed jar, shake together vigorously the avocado (or other) oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, chives, shallot, garlic powder, mustard flour, and some salt and pepper.
  • Add chickpeas, asparagus, sunflower seeds, lemon-chive dressing, and hot sauce (if using), to cooled quinoa, and stir to combine.  Taste for salt and pepper, and top with a little extra chopped chives.

Yield: 5-6 servings

lemon chive salad dressing

 

Lentil Salad with Beets & Pistachios

lentil salad with beets and pistachios

Because it’s still root vegetable and citrus season, and because I’m always looking for more ways to add lentils to my diet, I give you this vibrant salad. Phil and I enjoyed it for dinner the other night, along with some roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus. I think it would also be really tasty (and make for great potluck/picnic fare) combined with something grainy, such as quinoa or farro.
*Optional: Before cooking lentils, soak them in hot water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. I soaked mine for 5 hours.  This makes them more easily digestible and reduces their cooking time, too.
*I also like to soak the chopped red onion in (cool) water while I prep the other ingredients. This helps tame its sharpness.

orange vinaigretteroasted beets

1 cup lentils, either beluga or French/de puy, picked over and rinsed
Couple splashes of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice, optional
1 piece dried kombu, optional
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3-4 small beets, scrubbed
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tbsp chopped red onion, soaked and drained (see above note)
¼ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
generous handful of basil, chopped
generous handful of cilantro, chopped
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Wrap beets in foil, place in an oven safe dish, and roast for about an hour, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then peel and dice small.
  • Place lentils and kombu (if using) in a pot, and cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until done (but not falling apart). Cooking time for the lentils will vary, depending on freshness and whether or not they’ve been soaked. My presoaked lentils were done in 15 minutes. Lentils that haven’t been soaked will take longer, closer to 30 or 40 minutes. So be sure to keep an eye on them and check regularly for doneness. Once cooked, drain (and discard kombu), give a quick rinse, then toss with 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together or shake in closed jar the olive oil, orange and lemon juices, and some salt and pepper.
  • Combine lentils, beets, dressing, and red onion, and season with salt and pepper. Top with pistachios and herbs. Taste for seasonings; you may wish to add more orange or lemon juice.

Yield: About 4 servings

lentil foam